April not kind to the Twins

baseball in the snowIt is too early to tell what kind of team the Twins have for 2013 but from what I have seen in the nine games they have played so far, it is a team that is playing better than what it has the last two seasons. I am not saying they are playoff bound but the team is at least entertaining to watch and I hope they can start to gel as a team over time. Yes, the Twins are 4-5 but you could argue that two of those wins were gifts when outfielders from the Tigers and Orioles let a ball drop between them and gave the Twins gift runs. Everybody was worried about the starting pitching going in to 2013 but it is the hitting so far that has been missing. Hicks has been terrible with the bat but he is not the total reason this team is not hitting well. So far this year the 3-5 hitters have scored 11 runs, hit 2 home runs,  and have 9 RBI’s.  That is just plain terrible, Gardy needs to do something to shake-up this line-up. What scares me is that they are not playing all that well in the field either and they keep making mistakes on the base paths that are just plain embarrassing. The Twins have played just 9 games so the sample size is very small but here are some stats comparing the Twins to the rest of the league in various categories.

The Twins are 4-5 and in fourth place in the AL Central 2 games behind the division leading Kansas City Royals. The Twins have lost 3 games in a row.

The team is hitting .232 (13th place) and have scored 33 runs. Only the White Sox with 31 and the Rays with 32 have scored less.

The Twins and the Oakland A’s hitters lead the league in walks with 35.

Only the Houston Astros with 101 have struck out more frequently than the Twins 79 strikeouts.

Twins pitchers have a 4.09 ERA, good for 6th best and have given up only 4 home runs, the fewest in the league. Who would have thought that could happen, even after just 9 games?

Twins pitchers have the fewest strikeouts in the league and opponents are hitting .284 off Twins and Blue Jays pitchers, only the Yankees pitchers who are getting hit at a .306 clip are worse.

Twins relievers have a 2.73 ERA (3rd best) and are holding opposing hitters to a .231 average.

The Twins and the Indians each have 7 errors and only the Angels, Blue Jays, and White Sox with 8 have committed more miscues.

Everyone knows that Aaron Hicks is striking out at a frightening pace of 16 KO’s in 35 at bats in the leadoff position. But have you noticed that Josh Willingham has struck out 13 times in 29 at bats and that Joe Mauer has struck out 10 times in 40 at bats. In Willingham’s defense he also has 9 walks but Mauer and Hicks have 2 walks apiece. You have to wonder what might be bothering Mauer, his catching seems sub par this year too. Mauer has let a number of balls get by him and his throws to second base shouldn’t scare any opposing baserunners.

We will get a better feel for how good or bad the Twins really are very soon as they will play at home over the next 2 weeks or so as 12 of their next 15 games will be played at Target Field. We should also know by the time April is over if Aaron Hicks can catch his breath and turn things around before he finds himself in Gardy’s doghouse and on his way to Rochester. I sure hope so because the Twins don’t currently have a good plan B for center field unless Joe Benson catches fire. Hicks not running out his pop-up on Wednesday was obvious to anyone who watched the game but I didn’t like Gardy being so public about how upset he was about the rookie’s mistake. The Twins veterans like Morneau, Mauer, or Willingham should be taking care of issues like this, Gardy should have not gone public with his thoughts.

The Twins starting pitching is still a huge question mark and it will be interesting to see what Scott Diamond looks like in 2013. Mike Pelfrey has shown less than what most people expected, Hendriks has pitched like………Hendriks, I think you need to keep sending him out there every five days for a while and see what you get. I have liked Kevin Correia since they signed him but I know he can’t keep pitching like he has. Hopefully Cole De Vries can get healthy and fight for a spot again. The biggest disappointment to me so far has been Vance Worley but it is still way too early to determine anything.

The Twins drew the short straw from MLB this year from a schedule perspective with all those April home games and Mother Nature has not been as kind to the Twins as it has in the past but it is what it is. Now Dave St. Peter and the Twins find themselves having to make a hard decision in a no win situation today trying to determine if they should play the New York Mets tonight when temperatures are expected to be in the low 30’s with snow flurries predicted. It sounds like the Twins had all the 6 inches or so of snow removed from the ballpark yesterday and last night. It is a tough call because the Mets will only make one trip to Minnesota this year and the weather prediction for the rest of the week-end is bad with possible rain on Sunday too. As a matter of fact the temps are not scheduled to get out of the 40’s for the next week. So it makes sense to try to get the game in tonight but what about the fans comfort? Heaters or not, it will be miserable at Target Field and today’s game is scheduled to be a night game. The Twins are having trouble drawing fans as it is and when you add in cold and or snowy and wet weather you have a perfect scenario for Twins fans staying home and watching the game on TV. No matter what choice the Twins make, lots of Twins fans will be unhappy. It is kind of perfect storm and the Twins seemed doomed to come out on the losing end. As I stated earlier, predicted temperatures for the next week are in the 40’s and this entire Twins home stand will not see a temperature above 50 and all three games against the Angels after the Mets leave town are night games. OUCH!

You add in the little dust-up the other day about the Twins charging $15 for a group of 60 fans to watch Twins take batting practice and then withdrawing the offer later in the day and you have a rough start to the 2013 season for the Minnesota Twins and their fans.

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